Indian captain Mahendra Sigh Dhoni defended his five-bowler theory and the dropping of Virender Sehwag from the playing eleven in their World Twenty20 Super Eights match against Australia here, saying that he had adopted the "horses for courses" policy for the game.
Dhoni's five-bowler strategy backfired against Australia as India suffered a nine-wicket defeat but he backed his decision, saying that one failure did not warrant criticism of the combination.
Dhoni instead blamed the untimely spell of rain before Australia's chase as the reason for his side's humiliating loss last night. He said his spinners failed to make an impact as they could not grip the ball because of the rain.
"One can't criticise five-bowler strategy just because we have done badly in one match. We had done well against England but today rain became a factor. Once there was rain, the Australians had an option and they used light roller. Once the ball gets wet, it is very difficult for spinners to grip the ball," Dhoni said at the post-match press conference.
The five-bowler theory led to Virender Sehwag being left out of the playing eleven, and asked why the axe had to fall on the swashbuckling opener, Dhoni said it was difficult for him to justify as it was a choice between two players.
"Actually, you have to choose horses for courses and we wanted someone who is good in this format. It's very difficult to justify why it was Sehwag (to be dropped)," he said.
He, however, conceded that a total of 140 was not a big one and batting was not upto the mark. "At the end of 10 overs, we were 70 for two and suddenly we became 70-odd for five. Then it was question of playing 20 overs as well as putting a defendable target. We were ideally looking at a bigger score," he said.
India will now need to win their Super Eights match against Pakistan tomorrow to stay afloat in the tournament and Dhoni promised to go all out against their arch-rivals as "it could not have got worse".
"We will go out their and express ourselves without thinking too much about the result. Obviously, we can't do worse than what we did against Australia, so we should go out there and play freely. Since we have to win two matches, we have no room for complacency," he said.
Asked about the playing combination against Pakistan, Dhoni said, "We have to look at conditions and opposition before deciding on the XI. Obviously we have to take rain into account from now on. Ab toh lagta hain ki umbrella leke khelna padega (Now it seems that we have to play with an umbrella)."
Dhoni also defended the decision of not giving the new ball to pacer Irfan Pathan who has normally provided him with breakthroughs. "Zak (Zaheer Khan) has been a good bowler for us and his record against the two Australian openers has been good. Also there were one or two close calls (referring to the LBW appeal against Watson)," said Dhoni.
Rohit Sharma has been getting castled quite often showing his weakness against the incoming deliveries but Dhoni as usual defended the Mumbai player who has been playing only on the basis of potential. "Look, I am not a gentleman who understands a lot about technique. You have seen my technique. But he got out to a good delivery as it came in from an angle. As far as Rohit's technique is concerned, Duncan is the person to answer that."
Dhoni's assessment about the Premadasa strip was that it would get slower as time progresses and the "slower deliveries will come into effect". The question of having limited resources was asked and Dhoni was forthright in saying that one has to perform according to one's potential.
"If you look at our side we have a lot of potential. We have to implement the plans and that's important. We need to express ourselves. Let's not worry about the result and go for big shots," he said.